History of the Bible

I have placed all the post on the History of the English Bible on this page. I’m also going to include the Powerpoint (with notes) I will be using for teaching this lesson. Click on this link and you can save the powerpoint. I’ve also included a shockwave version.

History of the English Bible Part 1

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Bible StudyI’m going to be teaching on the history of the English bible and its translation next month. I thought to help me get my ideas in a coherent and understandable way I would write them down and share them here. I feel very strongly about the issue of bible translation because I have seen someone try and split a church over it and I’ve seen people walk away from the church over it. I read from several translations. I pick one and read it cover to cover then I get another and do the same with it. In the last few years I’ve read the KJV, TNIV, NIV, HCSB, NKJV cover to cover plus the New Testament in the ESV. In January I plan on starting the NASB with a NRSV waiting after that. During the week I read an hour a day from whatever translation I am reading through. Later in the day I normally pick up what ever translation I have stashed in the place I am near. I also want to state I like the KJV, the Lord’s Prayer in anything else just doesn’t have the ring in my ears as the KJV, but I do not feel that it is the best version for the typical reader of the bible today. So it is important to understand why it sometimes is not the same as a modern translation. This is a very simple overview as the majority of the people I will be teaching will want nothing but basics, so that is what I intend to give here.

The OT was originally written in Hebrew with parts such as Ezra 4:7-6:18;7:12-26, Daniel 2:4-7:28 and Jeremiah 10:11 written in Aramaic. The NT was written in Greek other than the Aramaic words in Mark 5:41 and Mark 7:34. Most of the manuscripts we have today are written on Papyrus or Parchment. There are about 3,000 Hebrew OT manuscripts in part or whole and 5,400 NT manuscripts in part or whole. There are 1,500 Septuagint manuscripts, 8,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts, and over a thousand ancient manuscripts in other languages
Most of the manuscripts we have today are either papyrus or parchment. Papyrus is a plant that grows in the marshes. The thin leaves are woven together in a crosshatch Papyrus_plantpattern and allowed to dry. The sugars that occur in the drying process act as glue and allow the leaves to form a solid sheet. Parchment is made from animal skins. Both of these materials were rolled into scrolls and that was the early form of books. Being rolled into a scroll limited the size that a book could be, for example the Isaiah scroll found at Qumran is pushing the limit at 23 feet. It was eventually discovered that papyrus could be folded in half and a book could be made these were called codex or codices for plural.

The next thing we must realize is that this happened before the printing press so if you had a copy of the bible, it had been hand copied from another hand copy. This coping was often done in a scriptorium. This KircheScriptoriumwas a room where professional scribes would hand copy books of the bible. Sometimes one person would stand and read the text while the other scribes would be writing what would be said. Imagine scriptoriumsitting in a room for hours on end writing every word that was said. That is how we got the manuscripts that we have. Next Time I will discuss the Septuagint.

The History of the English Bible Part 2: The Septuagint

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The Septuagint is a very important early translation of the Hebrew bible. The Pentateuch or five books of Moses were translated to Greek around 280 B.C. The Prophets and Writings were translated next and were completed by 130 B.C. The rest of the Old Testament was completed around 100 B.C. It was revised several times from 200 B.C till 200 A.D.
It is commonly referred to as LXX meaning 70 and based on supposedly having 72 translators and rounding to 70 . The reason it is so important is it shows us several things about how God views translations. (We can ascertain how God feels about it due to Jesus quoting from it.)We know the apostles used it because their NT quotes match it. This tells us several things.

  1. It is okay to have a translation in the common language of the day.
  2. It is okay for the translation to be regularly revised.
  3. Minor differences are to be expected and are okay if they do not change the meaning.

The Septuagint is different from the Hebrew text in several places. Most of these do very little to change the meaning. These differences can be assigned to many reasons such as the act of translating itself, harmonization of verses, or a problem with the manuscript. Any time you take something and put it in another language there will be differences. Some languages are more colorful, the sentence structures are different, grammatical rules are different. This can cause changes. Jesus accepting the use of the Septuagint shows that this is acceptable.

The best known manuscripts today are; Codex Vaticanus dating to the fourth century and found in the Vatican library, Codex Sinaiticus dating to the fourth century found in the St Catherine’s monastery at the base of Mt Sinai, and Codex Alexandrinus dating to the fifth century.

Just as an example of what the Greek and Hebrew would look like I’ve included Genesis 1:1 from the each.

Hebrew (read  right to left)

בראשׁית ברא אלהים את השׁמים ואת הארץ׃

Greek

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν.

The History of the English Bible Part 3: Jerome and the Vulgate

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Saint Jerome 347-420 A.D.

Saint Jerome 347-420 A.D.

Saint Jerome was baptized as a Christian about 360 A.D. In 373 he went to Asia and set aside secular studies to go into a deep study of the scriptures. Upon his return to Antioch he became the personal secretary of Pope Damasus I. In 382 the Pope commissioned him to do a revision of the Latin bible that was in use. It originally started out based on the Greek New Testament and Septuagint Old Testament. In 390 Jerome started using Hebrew manuscripts. He completed this sense-for-sense translation in 405 and spent the next 15 years writing commentaries on the bible. An interesting note on this translation is that while many were eagerly anticipating it some were bothered by his choice of some words. Not because they were inaccurate but that the priest were worried about offending the ears of the flocks because of the translation they were used to using. For example Augustine Bishop of Hippo was afraid that using the term Castor Oil Plant for Gourd in the book of Jonah would bother his congregation.

This translation was used for over a thousand years by the Roman Catholic Church. and we currently have over 8,000 manuscripts dating to the 5th and 6th centuries.

John 3:16 Latin Vulgate

sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam

The History of the English Bible Part 4: John Wycliffe

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John Wycliffe (1329-1384)

John Wycliffe (1329-1384)

John Wycliffe was born in 1329 in Hipswell, Yorkshire. He eventually became a teacher at Oxford College, but made his livelihood as head of the church he served. The first being Fillingham and second being Lutterworth. Wycliffe was very concerned with growing corruption in the Roman Catholic Church, and often spoke out against it. He pushed for a more biblical Christianity opposing Catholic doctrines such as priest being intermediaries between God and man and transubstantiation (wine actually changing into the blood of Christ and bread actually changing into flesh during sacraments).

He believed that for a revival to happen people needed a bible in common language they could understand. At the time the Latin Vulgate was what was available. Wycliffe and what is believed to be a team of five translators begin translating the Vulgate into English. In 1380 the New Testament was put out in hand printed copies. In 1382 the entire bible was put out in hand printed copies. The lollards are “poor priests” as they were called hand copied and distributed these bibles. These led to an increase in literacy as now the bible could be read in peoples native tongue.

The Roman Catholic Church did not like the fact that people could now read the bible and interpret scriptures on their own. Persecution increased and in 1414 it became a capital offense to read the scriptures in English. Many Christians were burned with bibles hung around their necks. In 1428 Wycliffe’s body was exhumed and burnt for good measure.

I’m going to include bible verses from these next few translations I talk about. Keep in mind that the English language and spelling was not as it is today.

John 3:16 Wycliffe Bible

For God louede so the world, that he yaf his `oon bigetun sone, that ech man that bileueth in him perische not, but haue euerlastynge lijf.

If you would like to see the rest of this series click on the bible category and it will take you to a page where you can see them all.

The History of the English Bible Part 5: Textus Receptus

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250erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Today we are going to study the men who had a part in the formation of the Greek New

Robertus Stephanus (1503-1559)

Robertus Stephanus (1503-1559)

Testament known as the “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text” In the early sixteenth century a Dutch man named Desiderius Erasmus decided to publish the first printed Greek New Testament. Using 5 Greek manuscripts and the Latin Vulgate he set to work. Erasmus transcribed from the Greek using the different manuscripts to compare and figure out what was the correct verse. Were he did not have manuscripts he translated back from the Vulgate. One such instance of this is the last six verses of Revelation. The single manuscript of Revelation he had was missing those verses. He printed his first edition in 1514 dedicating it to Pope Leo X in hopes that he would be forgiven for not getting the proper approval.

Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

It was called “Novum Instrumentum” or “the New Instrument” and contained parallel to the Greek a new Latin translation. Erasmus’ version quickly was attacked for what many felt were errors. One such error was the “Comma Johanneum” or Johannine Comma (1 John5:7-8 NIV, 1 John 5:7-8 KJV)(out of 5000 manuscripts with these verses only 5 contain the whole verse). He had left out a section of these verses and many asked why. He explained none of the Greek manuscripts contained these verses, so he felt they were added to the bible later. He also offered if anyone could come up with a manuscript that contained it he would add it. By his third revision, Codex Montfortianus showed up in Ireland. This was a suspected forgery since it came from an enemy of his but as he promised he included the verses in his third edition. Erasmus put out revision in 1516, 1519, and1522. Each of these contained annotations explaining why he chose certain words, added things or took away things that were not in the Vulgate.

After Erasmus Death Robertus Stephanus (1503-1559),also known as Robert Estienne took Erasmus’ work and further revised it in 1546, 1549, 1550,1551.

Theodore Beza (1519-1605) came next and created nine revisions. These works are what became the “Textus Receptus” and formed the basis for the KJV of 1611.

The History of the English Bible Part 6: William Tyndale 1534

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William Tyndale (1494-1536)

In May of 1524 William Tyndale fled England to spend the last twelve years of his life as a fugitive due to the fact that he felt everyman should be able to read the bible in their native tongue.In Hamburg, Germany he was able to start work translating Erasmus’ Greek New Testament into English. He carried it to be printed in 1525, but the church heard about it and forbade the printing. Tyndale headed to Worms, Germany to have his New Testament printed and in 1526 it was being smuggled back into England in cotton bales.

The Roman Catholic Church was very upset because it did not want the bible in English. The reasons being that (1)English is a rude and unworthy language to have God’s word translated into, (2)during the translation process errors can creep in, (3) with a translation that every man can read there will be personal interpretation which will lead to heresy, and (4)only priest have the divine grace of understanding the scriptures. The real reason though is that (5)certain doctrines will not hold up if people could read the bible for themselves. These doctrines like the priesthood, purgatory and penance were very important to the church,  but they lacked biblical evidence. Several word choices in Tyndale’s translation, while more accurate, they challenged the RCC’s teaching. They did not like how he had translated the Greek word presbuteros as elder instead of priest. The word ekklesia as congregation instead of church. The word metanoeo as repent instead of do penance. The word exomologeo as admit instead of confess and agape as love instead of charity.

Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London was enraged with the translation and publicly burned every copy he could get his hands on. He approached a London merchant by the name of Augustine Packard about purchasing copies from him.

Martyrdom of Tyndale 1536

Augustine then went to Tyndale and said that he had a buyer for all his remaining bibles. When Tyndale asked who Packard told him and the story goes that Tyndale said, “That’s because he wants to burn them.” Never the less Tyndale allowed them to be sold in order to finance his second edition.

The second edition came out in 1534 and contained the New Testament, the Pentateuch, Joshua through 2 Chronicles and Jonah. 9/10 of the New Testament in the King James of 1611came from the Tyndale translation as did 83% of the entire KJV. In 1535 Tyndale was betrayed by Henry Phillips. Phillips helped to have Tyndale kidnapped and sent to England for trial and to spend the last year of his life in prison. In October of 1536 Tyndale was led to the stake strangled and burnt. His last word were, “Lord, open the King of England’s Eyes.”

John 3:16 Tyndale Bible

For God so loveth the worlde yt he hath geven his only sonne that none that beleve in him shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.

The Lord’s Prayer from the Tyndale bible Matthew 6:9-13

Let thy kyngdome come. Thy wyll be fulfilled as well in erth as it ys in heven. Geve vs this daye oure dayly breede. And forgeve vs oure treaspases eve as we forgeve oure trespacers. And leade vs not into teptacion: but delyver vs fro evell. For thyne is ye kyngedome and ye power and ye glorye for ever. Amen. For and yf ye shall forgeve other men their treaspases youre hevenly father shall also forgeve you.

Page from Tyndale New Testament (click to enlarge)

The History of The English Bible Part 7: The Coverdale Bible 1535

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Coverdale Bible 1535

Much was going on by 1535 as it relates to bible translation. The printing press with movable type had been perfected

King Henry VIII (1491-1547)

by Johann Gutenberg in 1454. Erasmus had printed his Greek New Testament in 1516. Stephanus and Beza had printed several editions of each of their Greek New testaments, and Tyndale had printed an English New Testament and much of the Old Testament. Then in 1534 King Henry the VIII became upset because his wife Katherine of Aragon had not given him a male heir to the throne. He asked the pope for a divorce and the pope refused to grant him one. So Henry left the Roman Catholic Church and made himself head of the Church of England. Then he granted himself a divorce from Katherine and married Ann Boleyn. Coincidentally Ann was not able to give him a male heir either.

All this made it a good time to be protestant and a good time for English bible translations. Myles Coverdale became a very important name in bible translation as he translated the Coverdale bible, The Great Bible, and helped prepare the Geneva bible.  Coverdale went to Cambridge and studied under Robert Barnes. In 1528 he fled England due to persecution from Henry the VIII who was still part of the Roman Catholic Church. He met Tyndale and began working with him on the Pentateuch.

Coverdale himself admits that he was insufficient in Hebrew and Greek, but his passion for getting God’s word into

Myles Coverdale (1488-1569)

English led him to find other ways. After Tyndale’s death Coverdale used Latin and German bibles to complete what had not been completed by Tyndale. It was published as the Coverdale Bible in 1535. Myles included a dedication to Henry the VIII calling him a “better defender of the faith than the Pope himself”. So Henry had his advisors check the Coverdale Bible for errors and while they felt it was “saturated with problems” they could not point out any heresy so it was approved by Henry.

Coverdale separated the Apocrypha from the Old Testament and stated that it did not have divine authority as the rest of the bible did. The Coverdale Bible was reprinted twice in 1537 and once in 1550 and 1553.

John 3:16 The Coverdale Bible

For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his onely sonne, that who so euer beleueth in hi, shulde not perishe, but haue euerlastinge life.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Coverdale bible Matthew 6:9-13

O oure father which art in heauen, halowed be thy name.  Thy kyngdome come. Thy wyll be fulfilled vpon earth as it is in heauen.  Geue vs this daye oure dayly bred. And forgeue vs oure dettes, as we also forgeue oure detters. And lede vs not in to teptacion: but delyuer vs from euell. For thyne is the kyngdome, and the power, and the glorye for euer. Amen. For yf ye forgeue other men their treaspases, youre heauenly father shall also forgeue you. But and ye wyll not forgeue me their trespases, nomore shall youre father forgeue you youre trespases.

page from Coverdale Bible 1535 (click to enlarge)

The History of the English Bible Part 8: Matthew Bible 1537

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John Rogers (C.1500-1555)

John Rogers met William Tyndale while he was Chaplain of the English merchants. Through his studies with Tyndale he embraced the reformed faith and the idea of an English bible. He even helped smuggle Tyndale bibles into England. When Tyndale died in 1536 Rogers took the pen name Thomas Matthew and finished editing Tyndale’s bible. He also used Coverdale’s and he translated the apocryphal book the Prayer of Manasseh from a French bible published in 1535.

The Matthew bible like the Coverdale bible received a royal license. A three page dedication to King Henry VIII probably helped with that some. He also included the apocrypha separate and his translation was used for following translations. In 1555 he was the first to be burnt at the stake by Queen Mary Tudor also known as bloody Mary.

The lord’s Prayer from the Matthew Bible Matthew 6:9-13

Oure father which arte in heuen halowed be thy name. Let thy kingdome come. Thy will be fulfylled as well in erthas it is in heuen. Geve vs this daye oure dayly bred. And for geue vs oure trespases euen as we forgeue oure trespacers. And leade vs not into temptatcion: but delyuer vs fro euyll. For thyne is the kyngedome + the power and the glorye foreuer. Amen

page from matthew Bible (click to enlarge) Notice notes at lower right column

The burning of John Rogers

The History of the English Bible Part 9: The Great Bible (1539)

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The Great Bible

In 1534 a petition was sent to King Henry VIII for a translation of the bible to be authorized in English. Several years later Thomas Cromwell Vicar-General under Henry VIII asked Coverdale to make a revision of the Matthew’s bible to become the authorized version in the church. King Henry’s decree was that all churches should have a copy of the Great Bible in their church. It was called the Great Bible due to it’s size. It was printed 16 1/2 by 11 inches.

Its interesting to note that literacy and reading had become so common by this time that a Bishop Bonner complained that the bible was disrupting his services. It seems people were reading their bibles aloud during his sermons. In 1539 the political landscape was becoming volatile between Protestants and RCCs. Henry VIII was staring to lean back to Catholicism. So in 1540 Coverdale chose to flee to Europe to avoid persecution. He briefly returned in 1547 after Henry’s death. When Mary Tudor took reign in 1553 he fled to Geneva. where he spent most of his time as elder of the English Church. He returned to England agin upon Mary’s death in 1559.

The Great Bible was the first bible to be authorized for public use in churches. It was a revision of the Tyndale, Coverdale and Matthews bible.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Great Bible Matthew 6:9-13

Oure father which art in heuen, halowed be thy name. Let thy kingdome come. Thy will be fulfilled, as well in erth, as it is in heuen. Geue vs this daye oure dayly bred. And forgeue vs our dettes, as we foegeue oure detters. And leade vs not into temptation:but delyuer vs from euyll. For thyne is the kyngdom and the power, and the glorye for euer. Amen

Great Bible page (click to enlarge)

The History of the Bible Part 10: The Geneva Bible (1560)

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Cover of Geneva Bible (1560)

In 1543 the Parliament passed a law forbidding the lower classes from reading the

King Edward VI (reign 1547-1553)

Tyndale bible. King Henry VIII back to RCC added that no man or woman was to receive, have, take, or keep Tyndale or Coverdale’s New Testament. The reformation bibles were being ceremoniously burnt in England. The Great Bible probably because of its large and inconvenient size for personal use was the only English bible being allowed in the churches. Henry VIII died in 1547 and Edward VI took the throne and reversed the trend of restricting bibles. During Edward’s seven year reign many editions of Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale and the Great Bible were reprinted.

In 1553 Queen Mary Tudor also known as Bloody Mary came to throne and

Queen Mary Tudor (reign 1553-1558)

persecution of protestants resumed. The Great Bible again being the only English bible to remain in English churches.  Queen Mary died in 1558 and Queen Elizabeth I took the throne reversing the Pro-Roman Catholic policies.

During the reign of Mary Tudor, William Whittingham an instructor at All Souls College in Oxford and relative of John Calvin produced an English version of the New Testament in 1557. He got help from other scholars and took on a revision of the entire bible. This revision became known as the Geneva Bible and was published in 1560. It contained a dedication to Queen Elizabeth I.

The scholars working with Whittingham did a through revision of the great bible paying particular attention to the books that Tyndale did not translate. Since they had never been translated straight from Hebrew, some of the unclear English was due to Hebrew Idioms. The apocrypha was included but was separated with inscription saying these were not of the same authority. This bible was also the first with numbered verses. The Geneva Bible contained many controversial marginal notes. The notes supported a clearly Calvinistic doctrine and also contained anti Roman Catholic sentiments.

This is the bible that the Pilgrims brought to America on the Mayflower.

John 3:16 The Geneva Bible

For God so loued the worlde, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Geneva bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

After this maner therefore pray ye, Our father which art in heauen, halowed be thy name. Thy Kingdome come. Thy will be done euen in earth, as it is in heauen. Giue vs this day our dayly bread. And forgiue vs our dettes, as we also forgiue our detters. And leade vs not into tentation, but deliuer vs from euill: for thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glorie for euer. Amen.

Page from Geneva bible showing mariginal notes (click for larger image)

The History of the English Bible Part 11: The Bishop Bible (1568)

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Bishop Bible 1569 edition

The bishops of the churches in England were not willing to give up their Great Bibles for the superior Geneva translation due to the Calvinistic notes. In 1563 Matthew Parker, Achbishop of of Canterbury began overseeing a revision of the Great Bible. The bishops were invited to have a part in the work. They were advised to not add any bitter notes. This work was completed in 1568 . The Bishop Bible was a safe version for public reading and contained clear English but it was not as fluid as the Geneva Bible and never gained the same popularity.

John 3:16 from The Bishop Bible

For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleueth in hym, shoulde not perishe, but haue euerlastyng lyfe.

The Lord’s Prayer from the Bishop Bible Matthew 6:9-13

After this maner therfore pray ye. O our father, which art in heauen, halowed be thy name. Let thy kyngdome come. Thy wyll be done, as well in earth, as it is in heauen. Geue vs this day our dayly breade. And forgeue vs our dettes, as we forgeue our detters. And leade vs not into temptation, but delyuer vs from euyll. For thyne is the kyngdome, and the power, and the glory, for euer. Amen.

page from Bishop Bible

The History of the English Bible Part 12:Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610)

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Rheims NT 1582

The Roman Catholic Church being faced with the threat of the growing number of protestants and easily available protestant written English bibles realized that they had to publish an English bible that supported their doctrine. If they didn’t their congregations would be reading the Geneva bible with it’s Calvinistic notes and anti-Catholic commentary. William Allen, a devout Roman Catholic established an English College in Douay, France in 1568. Due to his unpopularity after supporting a failed attempt by Spain to conquer England and covert it back to Roman Catholicism, he moved the school to Rheims, France in 1578. By 1593 he was able to move back to Douay.

While in Rheims an instructor at his school named Gregory Martin started translating the Vulgate into English. He completed and published the New Testament in 1582. Martin died in 1584 so Allen and another scholar Richard Bristow finished the Old Testament and published it in 1610. It was known as the Douay-Rheims Bible because it was began in Rheims and completed in Douay.

This translation was not from original Greek or Hebrew texts because the Catholics believed the Vulgate held higher inspired status than the original languages. The preface of this bible states that it was made to refute “false translations” by Protestants. The Apocrypha was included and was mixed in with the canonical books. The text was translated in a way that supported Roman Catholic doctrine (see Lord’s prayer below for example) and it contained marginal notes to support RCC doctrine.

John 3:16 Douay-Rheims Bible (1899 edition)

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

The Lord’s Prayer from Douay-Rheims Bible (1610 edition) Matthew 6:9-13

ovr Father which art in heauen, sanctified be thy name. Let thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heauen, in earth also. Giue vs to day our supersubstantial bread. And forgiue vs our dettes, as we also forgiue our detters. And leade vs not into tentation. But deliuer vs from euil. Amen.

Click to enlarge and notice commentary

The History of the English Bible Part 13:King James Bible of 1611

Last modified on 2010-03-19 15:11:14 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

KJV 1611 title page

Elizabeth I died and King James I took throne in 1603. The Puritans gave a petition of 1000 signatures to King James stating grievances against the Church of England. The Hampton Court Conference occurred in 1604 to discuss these issues. King James had no special love for the Puritans due to some political problems he had had with them, but he also was not pleased with some of the notes in the Geneva bible and so he honored their request for a new authorized bible with no marginal notes.

Some of the notes he had a problem with were Exodus 1:19 talking about the midwives lying to pharaoh, “Their disobedience in this was lawful, but their deception is evil.”(Geneva Bible notes Exodus 1:19) James felt this was telling people it was okay to disobey the king. The notes on 2 Kings 9:33 Talking about throwing Jezebel down form the tower, “This he did by the moving of the Spirit of God, that her blood would be shed, who had shed the blood of innocents, to be a spectacle and example of God’s judgment for all tyrants.” (Geneva Bible notes 2 Kings 9:33) James felt this was promoting violence against royalty. So the idea of having a bible that removed these notes was a good idea to King James.

The rules for translation set by the king and the conference were that it would be produced by university scholars,reviewed by the bishops, ratified by the king, and it would contain no marginal notes. the translator’s stated their goal was to “make out of many good translations, one principal one.” They used the Bishop bible as the basis but they examined all the English versions, the original languages and several foreign versions such as Luther’s Germany version, French versions and Latin versions. They also looked at the Septuagint (Greek OT), The Targum (Aramic OT) and The Syriac Peshitta.

There were 54 men appointed by the king to translate although only 44 were listed. They were divided into 6 panels, 2 in Oxford, 2 in Cambridge, and 2 in Westminster. Once the panels were done translating, the manuscripts were reviewed by committees of 2 people from each panel for a total of twelve reviewers. To prevent language from becoming to stilted they decided that different words could be used for the same Greek or Hebrew words. This was later revised but some still remains in the KJV today. Words that needed to be included to make the English understandable but were not in original languages were to be noted by italics. Biblical names were to correspond to common names but did not have to be standardized such as Elijah in the OT and Elias in NT. Congregational words were to be retained such as church and baptism. There were to be no marginal notes unless they were required to explain Greek or Hebrew words. They also chose to maintain  chapter and verse separations and add headings. The last stipulation was that specialists could be called for assistance in their field of expertise. This is why the language of the KJV is so beautiful and poetically flowing. They were not afraid to ask Literary experts to help.

With only about 25 manuscripts to use they set to work and completed the translation in about 5 years. They did include the apocrypha but separated it from the canonical books by placing it between the OT and NT. The KJV went through several revisions to modernize language spellings and fix printer errors. In 1769 Dr. Benjamin Blayney, regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford revised the AV with modifications to weights, measures, and coins. It is estimated that the Oxford standard edition as it is known today is different in 75,000 places from the original KJV 1611. Most of these are changes in spellings and measures. This Oxford standard edition is what you have in your hands today.

John 3:16 KJV 1611

For God so loued ye world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV OSE

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Lord’s Prayer KJV 1611 Matthew 6:9-13

After this maner therefore pray yee: Our father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdome come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heauen. Giue vs this day our daily bread. And forgiue vs our debts, as we forgiue our debters. And lead vs not into temptation, but deliuer vs from euill: For thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glory, for euer, Amen.

Lord’s Prayer KJV OSE Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

KJV of 1611 (Click to enlarge)

The History of the English Bible Part 14: RV (1885) ASV (1901)

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ASV 1901 title page

In 1870 Dr. Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Winchester proposed a revision of the Authorized Version as the King James had come to be called. A resolution was passed and 16 scholars were appointed to supervise the translation. 54 translators were chosen among a mix of British and American scholars. Many of these were well known and still well known and read today. It was hoped by having two American committees one version could be made for both England and America. This didn’t happen because the British did not want to remove the archaic language and the Americans did not like the connotations of the word ghost, choosing spirit instead.

The RV did not do as well as the AV due to strict adherence to the rule that there could be only one English word for each Greek or Hebrew word. This helps in use of a concordance but leads to odd and stilted English. Charles Spurgeon responded to this version by saying it was “Strong in Greek, weak in English.”

The Americans working on the RV agreed not to make their own version for 14 years. When the time was up, Thomas Nelson published the ASV in 1901. Some of the words the ASV changed from the KJV were using Jehovah for God and LORD, holy spirit for holy ghost, hades for hell and grave, for pit or hell they used sheol.

The Presbyterian churches immediately adopted it for usage but it never caught on like the KJV. One reason for this is it did not go so far as to change English into modern English. another reason is that while it used newer manuscripts for it’s text, textual criticism was not what it is today. Some of the newer manuscripts available to the ASV revisers that were not previously available were Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrius.

John 3:16 RV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the RV  Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
(Mat 6:9-13)

John 3:16 ASV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the ASV  Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

The History of the Bible Part 15: The Controversy & Textual Criticism

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Isaiah (Dead Sea Scroll)

We are ready to move on and discuss some of the modern translations. I’m going to discuss a little on some of the major translations that you may hear of or see in a bookstore. This will not cover them all, but all bibles have an article in the front that describes their translation philosophy. I’m also not going in depth on any of these subjects but at the end of this series I will recommend some books that do.I’m going to group a lot in this category today, but there is a lot of misinformation and fear mongering out there with bible translations. First I want to say just because someone says something and they have the title Dr. in front of their name does not mean that what they say is the gospel. All Dr. means is that they received a piece of paper saying that they studied at a certain institution. They still have their own beliefs and opinions which may or may not be right.

First I want to look at the question. Why does my modern translation not say the same thing as the KJV? If you check the right websites or even published books you will quickly be informed that it is because of a satanic conspiracy to remove the fundamental doctrines required for salvation from the bible. You may also find out that it is because of false religions like Gnosticism and their corrupt texts being found and used for bibles. If you believe any of these, I’m not going to try and change your mind. I will say that with a little research you can see just how untrue some of these accusations are.

For example if the newer translations are trying to remove the virgin birth from Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:25, why would they have left it in at Luke 1:27? Logic tells us that they were trying to be truthful to what the text says and not trying to change anything. This can also be said with the many occurrences of where it is claimed that new translations are trying to remove the deity of Christ by only referring to Him as Jesus. Again if this was the case they would never refer to Him as the Christ, which they do and they would have to remove several verses to help them support an incorrect doctrine, which they don’t. Most modern translations also show alternative readings in the footnotes, which they would not do if they were trying to hide something.

As far as the accusations that some translations are a Gnostic version of the bible, if  you study up on gonsticism you will see that this is simply untrue. For example, The Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Truth are false books that teach Gnosticism, so if your modern translation was a Gnostic bible it would include these books, which even the apocrypha does not acknowledge. So if you have questions research both sides and if someone is trying to scare you into believing something and it isn’t in the bible, don’t jump at believing it, until you research it yourself.

Also a quick word about copyrights. I’ve heard it said that the newer translations are out just for the money. A copyright protects how the translation is used. It protects the integrity of the translation. Second, works that or in the public domain (such as the KJV) can be published by anyone with no royalties paid to anyone and all profits can be used for whatever the publisher wants. With a copyrighted bible the money for royalties goes back to the foundation that sponsors the translation. Then this money can be used to translate the bible into other languages so that when missionaries go to unreached areas, they can carry a bible to the peoples in their native language.(If you go to the foundation websites most will show you what they do with the money. I’ll include this information in the bibliography at the end of this series.)

So why are they different?

First there have been many great finds in manuscripts since the KJV was published in 1611. We have discovered many old Greek manuscripts that teach us many things. Codex Sinaiticus was discovered having almost been destroyed. It shows us that more than one scribe was used on some manuscripts and sometimes multiple revisers checked it. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 gives us many old manuscripts some dating back to 150 B.C. In the late nineteenth century the Cairo Geniza was found in Old Cairo Egypt. (A genizah was a store room for old manuscripts that were worn.They were to be collected here until they could be ritually buried in a cemetery. This was done to prevent pagans from defiling sacred manuscripts.) The Cairo Geniza contained over 280,000 Jewish documents dating back as far as 870 A.D.

We also have come a long ways in textual criticism. This is the art and science of studying the thousands of old manuscripts and trying to discover what the original manuscript would have said. The original being the one written by the inspired author. Textual criticism looks at all the manuscripts to see if its possible a scribe misspelled a word. If maybe a scribe added their own opinions or descriptions in the manuscripts. Harmonization is another thing it looks for. This is where when the scribe is writing he sees a verses that is familiar to another and instead of looking  to see the correct verse he writes the incorrect one from memory. These are things you are probably familiar with today as you copy something from one document to another.

The modern translations use textual criticism and the older manuscripts for their translations. This is why they are different. They do not try to hide this either. The KJV as it was originally authorized does not contain notes about manuscripts. The modern ones state what they feel is correct and then tell which manuscripts disagree. If there is an alternate verse, most list it in the notes at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to see an example of modern day textual criticism follow the link below to Bible Study Magazine’s interactive article on 2 Samuel 21:19

Goliath & the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament -- at BibleStudyMagazine.com

The History of the English Bible Part 16: Translation Types

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Before we move on to modern versions of the bible, let’s look at the types of translations and the different translation philosophies. You can have a translation, a revision, or a paraphrase. I’m going to include a definition of each with a list of some of the bibles that fall into each category.

Translation = A translation uses the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts as the basis for rendering the languages into English. Some examples of this would be NIV, NET, HCSB.

Revision = A revision takes a previous translation and updates the rendering to reflect contemporary language and scholarly research. (A revision may also look at original languages, but it compares it with a previous version.) Examples are the KJV, ASV, RSV, ESV,TNIV.

Paraphrase = A paraphrase takes the text and adapts the wording to contemporary jargon and interpretation of what the scripture says. Examples are The Living Bible and The Message.

There are pros and cons to each of these. A translation, not looking at previous version may state the text in a way that is unfamiliar to the reader. A revision may change words that some feel hold a special reverence. An example of this would be thine and thy. A paraphrase is the translator taking the text and putting it in his own words. There is always the danger of the translator giving an interpretation that goes with his opinions, but does not show that the verse could be interpreted in other ways.

On the flip end of these negatives, a fresh translation in contemporary language may help a verse that is hard to understand due to Hebrew Idioms easier for the modern reader to grasp. (An idiom is basically a figure of speech such as…”It’s raining cat’s and dogs.) A revision allows a favorite version to be updated in language that is more common today. A paraphrase makes reading really easy, as the text will read like a modern day story with hard to understand text stated in a way that makes it easy to understand.

There are basically two types of translation philosophies with most translations falling somewhere in the middle.

Formal Equivalence = renders text word – for – word (also called literal)

Dynamic Equivalence = renders text thought – for – thought

The good thing about formal equivalence is that it uses one English word for each word in another language. It also uses the same English word each time the same Greek word comes up. It will put the verse as it is without interpreting it. This makes this type of translation great for word studies. The negative is it often creates stilted language, with odd sentence structure to what we normally use.

Dynamic Equivalence makes the text really easy to understand and easy to read. The negative to this is that for serious study some words may not be used the same everywhere and some times thought for thought can lead to interpretation instead of translation.

While many bibles claim to be literal, it is impossible for a translation to be 100% literal word for word. 

The History of the English Bible Part 17: RSV (1952) NRSV (1989)

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I’m going to group the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version together since they are both revisions of the ASV done by the same organization. The International Council of Religious Education acquired the copyright of the ASV in 1928. This organization represented 45 denominations and they set up a committee to see if a revision should be done and if it was possible.

While the committee did feel the need for a revision, the Great Depression kept that from happening. In 1937 Money finally became available and 32 scholars led by Luther Weigel of Yale Divinity School were selected. These men are said to have worked free of charge.

The New Testament was published in 1946 and the entire bible in 1952. In 1957 the Apocrypha was added for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1971 a second edition was published that reinserted passages that had been left out of the first edition. The longer ending of Mark (Mark 16:9-20) and the woman caught in adultery from John 7:35-8:11

The main change from the ASV to the RSV was the modern language usage. For example speaketh was replaced by speaks and seeth replaced by sees. Plus the translators were not restricted to one English word for one given Greek or Hebrew word. They used you for Jesus’ Earthly life and Thou after the resurrection. Critics complained that this denied Jesus’ divinity on Earth.

The translators also took bible language such as “and it came to pass” out. Quotation marks were introduced and poetic passages were printed in a way that highlighted their structure. This translation is a literal translation that tries to stay with a word for word philosophy.

Besides for being criticized on the use of you and thou, this bible was accused of denying the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14. (The more accurate translation here is young maiden) As I stated in an earlier post if they were trying to deny the virgin birth they would have to have taken it out of Luke 1:27? also. Another criticism thrown at it was in John 3:16 they translated “only Son” instead of “only Begotten Son”.

In 1974 the National Council of Churches proposed that a complete revision be done. A committee of 30 men and women from Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish groups was formed for the purpose of revising. This committee is still in existence today all though some members have been replaced due to deaths and resignations. The New Revised Standard Version was published in 1989 with the RSV staying in print until 1995. That being said the RSV is still in print.

The policy of the revisers was to be “as literal as possible and as free as necessary”. They also decided to go with a gender neutral language. What this means is that God and Christ were still referred to with masculine pronouns, but words such as “mankind” would be changed to “all people” (John 12:32) Thees and thous were not used when addressing God. They decided to use brackets instead of footnotes to show alternative readings. (the RSV used footnotes.) The Comma Johanneum was given a footnote in this version while it was not even mentioned in the RSV. Lastly, some words (such as sluggard to lazybones) were changed to give them a more modern sound.

John 3:16 from RSV

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the RSV (Matthew 6:9-13)

Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

John 3:16 from the NRSV

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the RSV (Matthew 6:9-13)

‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

The History of the English Bible Part 18: NWT (1961)

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I do not recommend this bible. This is the only bible I intend to state an opinion so strongly, but I wanted to make sure that my writing on this bible is not seen as an endorsement. I will be leaving out several translations as this series would go on forever if I wrote on all of them. I mention this only because someone may show up at your doorstep wanting you to read this bible.

The New World Translation is the bible translated and endorsed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The New Testament was published in 1950 and the rest of the bible was published in 1961 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. This cult was founded by Charles t. Russell in 1918 and became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. It has approximately 2 million followers today.

The NWT was written to reflect the doctrine of The Jehovah Witnesses. They do not believe that Jesus is truly God John 1:1 demonstrates this

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. [emphasis mine]

Titus 2:13 (while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus), gives the appearance of 2 people

Colossians 1:16-17 (because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.) adds other in brackets.

John 3:16 from the NWT

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NWT (Matthew 6:9-13)

“YOU must pray, then, this way:

“‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.  Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day;  and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’

The History of the English Bible Part 19: NASB (1971) revised 1995

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In 1959 the Lockman Foundation decided to do a revision of the ASV of 1901. They proposed to use advances in textual criticism and modern English to make an up to date revision. They had 58 translators from several denominations participate. Some of the denominations included were Presbyterian, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Nazarene, American Baptist, Fundamentalist, Conservative Baptist, Free Methodist, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical Free, Independent Baptist, Independent Mennonite, Assembly of God, North American Baptist.

Their stated purpose was to adhere as close to the original languages and scripture while making a translation as readable as possible and current with English standards. Some of the standards they set were to use you instead of thou except when addressing divinity as in prayers. This decision was reversed during the 1995 revision of the NASB. They placed words that were needed for understanding and grammar purposes, but not in the Greek or Hebrew text in italics. Each verse was its own paragraph and verses that started a new paragraph had a bold verse number next to them. The NASB starts verses lowercase unless they start a sentence. To distinguish chapters, the first word of all chapters was in all capital letters. They also capitalized pronouns that were referring to divinity. It used quotation marks and Old Testament quotes in the New Testament were distinguished by a smaller font in all capital letters. The Lockman Foundation also decided to use the newer critical text for their translation instead of the text used for the ASV.

To keep from offending their conservative readers, controversial translation were avoided (such as “maiden” for “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14, and “only begotten” when referring to Jesus). One criticism thrown as this bible upon its publication was its translation shows a premillenial preference in several verses. (Isaiah 2:2, Galatians 6:16, Mark 13:29, Mark 13:30, Luke 21:32, Micah 4:1, Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:4)

John 3:16 NASB 1971

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John3:16 NASB 1995

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NASB 1971 (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
‘Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.]’

The Lord’s Prayer from the NASB 1995 (Matthew 6:9-13)

Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

History of the English Bible Part 20: The Living Bible (1971)

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Kenneth Taylor would read to his ten children from the KJV and they would not be able to understand him. He started paraphrasing into his own words and decided others would benefit if there was a bible written as a paraphrase. In 1956 he used the time in his daily commute on a train to start paraphrasing the ASV.

In 1962 he published The Living Letters. In 1965 he published The Living Prophecies and in 1966 he published The Living Gospels. By 1967 He had the entire New Testament and Psalms published. In 1968 he published The Living Lessons of Life and Love. In 1971 the entire Bible was published as The Living Bible.

Remember that this is a paraphrase and therefore it is good for devotional reading but not serious study as in its very nature it is the paraphraser’s words and not the original author’s words. Taylor stated that his goal was to make the bible easier to understand. The early editions of The Living Bible, while being aimed at children had some very strong and profane language in places. This was taken out in later editions. This bible led to the NLT which I will talk about later.

John 3:16 The Living Bible

For god loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Living Bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Pray along these lines: ‘Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name. We ask that your kingdom will come now. May your will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us our food again today, as usual, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Amen.’

The History of the English Bible Part 21: NIV (1978)

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Due to dissatisfaction with existing bible translations a committee on bible translation met in 1965. This committee consisted of 15 scholars from different denominations. They met to decide on making a new modern speech translation. In 1967 the International Bible Society (now called the Biblica) agreed to financially sponsor the translation, which would be called (NIV) the New International Version.

This version had 110 evangelical scholars from several English speaking countries working on the translation. The reason for this was to make sure the English used would be modern and internationally recognized. There were 20 teams of translators each team consisted of at least a translator, a cotranslator, 2 consultants, and an English stylist. Once the teams finished their work it was submitted to an editorial committee. Once they finished their work it went to a general committee of critics who would evaluate it. Next a 15 member editorial committee reviewed and revised it before it went to literary consultants. In 1973 the New Testament was published and in 1978 the entire bible was published.
There is very little denominational bias in this translation because 34 denominations were involved in translating. Some of them included; Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, Christian Reformed, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Evangelical Free Church, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan Methodist.
This translation was middle ground of word for word and thought for thought. It does lean toward thought for thought in many spots for clarity. Hebrew Idioms were changed for easier understanding, such as “To lift up the voice and weep” was changed to weep aloud.
There are more than 3,350 footnotes indicating textual variances, other translations, parallel scripture quotes and explanatory notes.
In 1996 The International Bible Society put out the New International Readers Version (NIRV) This translation was a gender neutral version targeted at people who use English as a second language and for children. It has a very readable style to it and hard verses are made easier to understand. In 1997 it became known that the NIV was going to be revised as a gender neutral bible. Uproar arose over this so that the publishers decided to name the revision (TNIV) Today’s New International Version and leave the NIV as it was. The New Testament was published in 2002 and the entire bible was published in 2005. There is currently a planned revision of the NIV in 2011.

John 3:16 NIV
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 TNIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 NIRV
“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NIV (Matthew 6:9-13)

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.[a]

The Lord’s Prayer from the TNIV (Matthew 6:9-13)

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, [a]
but deliver us from the evil one. [b]’

The Lord’s Prayer from the NIRV (Matthew 6:9-13)
“This is how you should pray.
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be honored.
10 May your kingdom come.
May what you want to happen be done
on earth as it is done in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our sins,
just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted.
Save us from the evil one.’

The History of the English Bible Part 22: NKJV (1982)

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Sam Moore president of Thomas Nelson Corporation believed that most Americans preferred the KJV. So he proposed a revision of it with the goal of modernizing the language without compromising the text or translation principles. The publishers claim it as the fifth major revision of the KJV. They get this number by counting the revisions of 1629, 1638, 1762, 1769 and ignoring the RV,ASV, RSV, NASB, and KJII.

More than 130 scholars worked on this translation. Publishers say the entire text of the original KJV is included. That being said the apocrypha is not available in this version as it was in the KJV 1611.

Words not in original languages but required in English are set off with italics. Each verse is a separate paragraph and pronouns referring to divinity are capitalzed. They used newer text critical manuscripts especially in the New testament for this translation. Any verses different from the KJV are noted in footnotes.

While the purpose of this bible was to use modern language there are still several outdated words used such as; hew down trees (Jeremiah 6:6), winebibber (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34, Proverbs 23:20), eventide (Isaiah 17:14), Matrix of my mother (Isaiah 49:1), dandled (Isaiah 66:12), offscouring (Lamentations 3:45, 1 Corinthians 4:13) paramours (Ezekiel 23:20) pinions (Job 39:13).

John 3:16 NKJV

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NKJV (Matthew 6:9-13)

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The History of the English Bible Part 23: NCV (1987)

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The New Century Version is a dynamic equivalence translation that began in 1973. It was translated by the World Bible Translation Center, which was formed by people associated with the Churches of Christ. Originally the New Testament was published in 1978 as the (EVD) English Version for the Deaf using a 3rd grade vocabulary. In 1980 it was published as the (ERV) Easy to Read Version. In 1983 it was revised and issued as the (IRV) International Children’s Version New Testament. Finally in 1984 it was released as the (NCV) The Word: New Century Version. The complete bible was published under the NCV name in 1987 and revised to its current version in 1991.

NCV

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NCV (Matthew 6:9-13)

So when you pray, you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name always be kept holy.
10 May your kingdom come
and what you want be done,
here on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us the food we need for each day.
12 Forgive us for our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.
13 And do not cause us to be tempted,
but save us from the Evil One.’ [The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen.][a]

History of the English Bible Part 24: NLT (1996)

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In 1989 the publisher’s of The Living Bible decided a new and fresh revision of The Living Bible was needed. The result of this was the 1996 publication of the New Living Translation. While this is a revision of The Living Bible, the translators took a completely different approach to the process. Instead of paraphrasing they started with the Original languages and did a dynamic equivalence translation.  That is they did a thought for thought translation and while it is a lot freer than some translations it is not a paraphrase.  There were 90 scholars working over a 7 year period on translating and reviewing this bible.

John 3:16 NLT

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NLT (Matthew 6:9-13)

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

The History of the English Bible Part 25: The Message (2002)

Last modified on 2010-03-19 12:19:56 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Eugene Peterson as a scholar and pastor often found himself translating the scripture into common and easy to understand language for his congregation. He decide a paraphrase needed to be done based on the original Greek and Hebrew. In 1993 he published the Message New Testament and in 1997 the Old Testament wisdom books were available.

The Message like The Living Bible is a paraphrase and therefore good for devotional reading but not for serious study. After Peterson finished working from the Greek and Hebrew he had several scholars critique his work. The message tries to bring the bible to a new and vivid life.

The Message

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

The Lord’s Prayer from the Message ()

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

The History of the English Bible Part 26: HCSB (2004)

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In 1998 the people at Broadman and Holman publishers were seeking to buy the copyright of an already existing conservative translation for use in their publishing projects. Broadman and Holman is the trade books division of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. After problems getting the copyrights they needed, they contacted Arthur Farstad, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and former general edition for the NKJV. They asked him to do a fresh translation based on the Nestle-Aland text. Farstad passed away five months after beginning the project. They asked Edwin Blum, another professor at Dallas Theological Seminary to take over general editorship.

The HCSB is a literal translation that calls itself “Optimal Equivalence”. Basically they translated as literal as possible except where that would have affected clarity. When understanding would be afeected they translated for clarity and placed the literal translation in a footnote. On gender related Issues they went with the Colorado springs guidelines for gender related language. Traditional theology terms have been retained (justification, sanctification, etc.). Nouns and pronouns refering to divinity are capitalized. They used brackets to indicate words added for English understanding.

John 3:16 HCSB

“For God loved  the world in this way: He gave His One and Only  Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the HCSB (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,

Your name be honored as holy.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

[For Yours is the kingdom and the power

and the glory forever. Amen.]

The History of the English Bible Part 27: NET (2005)

Last modified on 2010-03-19 12:19:19 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The New English Translation came about because of a copyright problem ran into by the ministry organization bible.org. They started in 1993  with the mission of making free bible study resources. In 1995 they realized that eventually if they continued making their resources available on one website they would violate the copyright of the bible versions they were using. So what do you do? They commissioned their own bible translation. A team of more than 25 scholars worked on the translation. They used the best available Hebrew, Greek, And Aramic texts. The thing that makes me mention them though is their translator notes. They have 60,932 translation notes in their bible. These notes show you the textual basis and why they used certain words.

This bible went through a nine year review that they called beta testing. As it was being worked on, it was available online for review and suggestions.

The first Beta edition was available in 1998 and a second edition became available in 2003. In 2005 the first edition of the NET was released. This bible is available online at www.bible.org plus a much larger description is available their also.

John 3:16 NET

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NET Bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

So pray this way:

Our Father in heaven,may your name be honored, may your kingdom come,
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

The History of the English Bible: Bibliography

Last modified on 2010-03-19 12:18:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’m going to include a list of resources I used and felt were helpful in doing this series.

The book The journey from Texts to Translations: The Orgin and Development of the Bible was most helpful and where most of the information for this series came from.

The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Orgin and Development of the Bible/ Paul D. Wegner/Baker/2004/ISBN: 0801027993

Some information also came from:

The King James Controversy: Can You Trust Modern translations/James R. White/ Bethany House/2009/ISBN:0764206052

I also relied on notes from my Hermeneutics class at Boyce College

To see the accusations against modern translations got to AV1611.com’s KJV Controversy page. I just ask that you research the things that they claim

Bible page pictures came from newtestamentchurch.org

openscriptures.org has the manuscript comparator
which allows you to see the differences in the New Testament manuscripts.

bible-researcher.com has many articles on scripture and very detailed descriptions of modern bible translations click on the 20th and 21st century versions to read opinions on the modern translations.

Bible Gateway and Bible study tools have bibles online to read and compare.

Links for:

RSV and NRSV
RSV preface
NRSV preface
National Council of Churches
NRSV website
NRSV online bible browser
RSV online bible browser

NASB
Lockman Foundation

The Living Bible
The Living Bible at Google books

NIV, NIRV, TNIV
BiblicaNKJV
Thomas Nelson publishers of the NKJV

NCV
World Bible Translation Center

NLT
Tyndale House publishers of the NLT
NLT website

The Message
Nav Press publishers of the Message

HCSB
Broadman and Holman publishers of the HCSB
HCSB websit

NET
bible.org
NET bible page

Koinonia is a blog hosted by Zondervan Academics and hasmany posts written by translators about translating passages.
Better Bibles blog is a blog contributed to by several translators and it agan discusses ways things were and are translated.

The journey from Texts to Translations: The Orgin and Development of the Bible

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